Richard Reeves on Economic Inequality in America | WYPR

Richard Reeves on Economic Inequality in America

Jan 8, 2018

Reeves' new book takes aim at the widening gap between the upper middle class and everyone else.
Credit Courtesy of the Brookings Institute

When the sweeping Republican tax bill was pushed through and voted into law just before Christmas, critics ripped into it as a gift for the wealthy. Many of them focused on the benefits that it will bestow upon the wealthiest of all -- the top 1% — and especially the top 0.1%. Critics worry that the ultra rich are becoming wealthier, while incomes for most other Americans are stagnant.

Today's guest, Richard Reeves, says that the gap that poses the greatest threat to our culture isn’t the one between the insanely rich and the rest of us, but rather, it’s the gap between most people and the so-called Upper Middle Class, the top 20% of Americans, by wealth. That gap, Reeves says, is changing how families are structured and it’s informing our political and personal attitudes about everything. 

Richard Reeves joins Tom live from the studios of NPR in Washington, DC.

Reeves is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution in DC and the co-director of the Brookings’ Center on Children and Families. He is the author of the book Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It.Reeves is also a contributor to The Atlantic, National Affairs, Democracy Journal, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Last September, Politico Magazine named him one of the top 50 thinkers in the U.S. for his work on class and inequality.